Posted by: cordy74 | December 3, 2009

Black Friday 2K9 Part 1

Every year I do it. Every year something about it makes me angry and frustrated. Every year I swear I’m not going to do it again. It’s Black Friday. If you don’t know what Black Friday is I’m certainly not going to explain it here.  Crawl out of your hole, buy a computer or turn on a TV and pay attention.

It happened again this year.  I went out and got mad.  The difference between this year and any other year, though, was the fact that I almost didn’t have to go out and be part of the mass hysteria thanks to my wife, the Bargain Queen (known in some circles as WickedSteppMom).

We were on the lookout for two big items this year:  a LCD TV and a Wii.  The only real problem being that the TV we had our eye on just happened to go on sale at the same time as the Wii – in a completely different store.  Having experienced Black Friday in Lexington, Kentucky I knew that there was very little chance I would be able to snag both the TV and the Wii on Black Friday.  With all of the shoppers around here on Black Friday there was a good chance I wouldn’t be able to get either item.  I was weighing our options and trying to plot out a strategy when the Bargain Queen stepped in and saved the day.

She found an equivalent TV on Walmart.com a few days before Black Friday and, with her unique bargain-hunting abilities, was able to purchase the TV and have it shipped to our house for about $10 more than we would have paid at the store.  Problem solved.  Now we could focus on getting the Wii at Meijer on Friday for $199 with a $50 Meijer gift card, effectively making the Wii $150.

The Bargain Queen’s next step was to scour eBay for Wii systems.  Low and behold, she found one up for sale that included three controllers, two nunchucks, about seven games and a case for the Wii.  To make a long story short:  the Bargain Queen ended up winning the auction for right around what you would pay for a new Wii console alone plus tax.  There went the other big reason for me to get up early on Friday.  I was almost a little disappointed so I started scouring the ads again trying to find a reason to get out of bed early and join the Black Friday madness.

Earlier that week we learned that Meijer was also having a Thanksgiving Day sale starting at 6am.  One of the items included in the sale was a Wii Fit with the balance board for $45 which was half the normal price.  That was a good enough deal for me to drive up to Lexington on Thanksgiving morning.  I set my alarm, got up and got to Meijer at about 5:10am which was just early enough for me to join the line for Electronics that stretched from the back of the store to the front registers.

As soon as I saw the line I figured my chances of getting the Wii Fit were pretty low but gave it my best shot anyway.  One thing I have learned is to never just join in the back of a line without verifying it is the line you want.  I walked all the way back to Electronics and asked one of the workers behind the tape (they had the whole department cordoned off as if it were a crime scene) if the line to the front of the store was the only line for the sale.  After he told me it was I made sure to let him know what item I was after.  He reiterated that the line to the front was the ONLY line.  I took him at his word and traveled back up and assumed my place in line.

They say “waiting is the hardest part.”  That all depends on the people with whom you are waiting.  This was not a fun line in which to wait.  There wasn’t a lot of chatter and people were mostly keeping to themselves.  I tried passing the time sending messages to Twitter and texting back and forth with my friend, Bob, who was waiting in a line consisting of one person in front of the coffee pot in his own kitchen.  I only had to wait until about 5:50am; then things started to happen.

I noticed several people leaving the line and heading through the aisles to our left toward the far wall of the store.  I called out to one of them, who happened to be just in front of me in the line, and asked where he was going.  He replied that there was apparently a separate line over against the wall for people who wanted the video games and video game accessories.  Swearing under my breath and breaking my own rule to never join a line whose purpose you haven’t verified I darted down the aisle after him.  Upon emerging from the end of the aisle I spotted a shorter line near the back of the store and joined it.

After just a few more minutes the line began moving.  The closer to the back of the store we got the higher my anticipation mounted.  This line was much shorter than the other one.  I was sure my chances of getting the Wii fit were better than they had been just a few minutes ago.  I was sure of this until, with just five people in front of me, the Meijer employee announced they had just run out of the Wii Fits. I went from anticipatory to pissed in the blink of an eye.

I won’t go into my “interaction” with the Meijer employee or her manager.  At least I didn’t swear at or hit anyone.  That being said, would it hurt any of these stores to put just a little bit of effort into making things run a little more smoothly or efficiently on these big sale days?  I wouldn’t have been nearly as irritated had Meijer told one of their employees to walk up the line every five or ten minutes and announce that there was a second line for certain items.  Sure, I would probably still have been far enough back in line that I wouldn’t have gotten what I was after anyway.  But at least I wouldn’t have felt like I got screwed out of my chance.  Congratulations, Meijer, you just made The List.  Sure, it’s a long list and there is zero chance of me ever acting on it, but the principle is there.

You know what?  That’s enough for this post.  They always say you should leave your audience wanting more.  Stay tuned and if you are lucky you get to read all about the rest of my Black Friday exploits including an ambulance at Walmart and a vet who claimed being inside Walmart when their sales started gave him the shakes worse than anything he saw during his tour of duty.

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